Have you ever wondered if your emotional pain matters? I have! When I compare my pain to that of starving children, persecuted christians, and women that are being bought and sold through sex trafficking my pain seems small and insignificant. I tell myself to suck it up, deny my pain, my fear, and my anxiety because I have so much to be grateful for. Does my denial help? Nope. Pain is pain. Emotional pain is not something that can be compared or measured it needs to be acknowledged, understood and healed. I don't know about you, but I get stuck in the comparison game. I get stuck in a cycle of comparing my pain to others, denying that it matters, then guilt and shame that I can't stop myself from feeling it and letting it affect me. Here's what I'm learning and practicing:
I must take the time to feel my emotional pain. A walk, a quiet moment alone, asking for a few minutes if I'm in the middle off a difficult conversation, whatever it takes to create a safe place for me to feel my feelings.
I must acknowledge and validate my emotional pain. Sometimes this looks a bit like I'm a crazy lady talking to myself in my car :) Something to remember... feelings are not necessarily good or evil, and acknowledging them isn't wrong. What I choose to do with them is what matters.
I must make a conscious decision about how I'm going to handle my emotions, pain or the circumstance. What's an appropriate healthy response for me to have? If my husband says something hurtful and I feel the pain from those words I have a choice to make. I can scream, yell and say hurtful things back (probably not helpful or healthy). Or, I can take a few minutes to feel, acknowledge, and validate my feelings about what just happened then decide how to respond from a healthy place instead of an angry and defensive one.
Philippians 3:12-14 says this "I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers an